Thursday, October 18, 2012

Serengeti Safari Part 1

On Tuesday we had another adventure that reminds us we are in Africa. 

I was heading out of town for a few days to study with some people in the Serengeti area. I had taken the truck into the mechanic to fix some problems, including a leaking radiator. So, I got it back Sunday afternoon all nicely services and noticed that the radiator was leaking. I took it back on Monday (delaying our departure till Tuesday) and it was a small fix and all seemed good.

Looking down the Great Rift Valley at Lake Manyara
So I let home at 6.00am and picked up my traveling companion for this trip, Charles and we headed out of town. I was really looking forward to this trip as we were passing Lake Manyara National Park and rising out of the Great Rift Valley.
Charles and myself with Lake Manyara behind
We then had to travel through the Ngorongoro Crater and then into Serengeti National Park. I had been through this area with Don and Barb Davis, but this was the first time I was going to be driving it myself.

The road to Ngorongoro is a good sealed road and we made it to the gate in good time. I knew that we had to pay to go through the park, so Charles and I got out and filled out the paper work needed. In Tanzania you get to know that they LOVE paper - the more paper the better! The price of just driving through was Tsh 95,000! ($60). I knew it would be the same to get through Serengeti and then I would have to pay the same to get back - over $200 in park fees, just to drive through! That is the price of business here in Tanzania and you have to understand that the National parks are a major asset here in Tanzania, with about 1/3 of the country being given over to parks and reserves.
As we drove out of the gate we started to climb the crater. (we were not going down into it - that's another $200!) Here the road was good and VERY scenic. While we were not there to view the sights, we got wonderful glimpses of the crater as we passed through.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is vast and abuts up to Serengeti. As you leave the creator it starts to get very arid and you pass through Maasai villages. The Maasai live in  the Conservation Area along side the wildlife - a unique coexistence.

We started to see some wildlife and the road started to get really rough! About 2 hours from the gate the truck suddenly stopped! I got out and found that the corrugations had shaken the battery terminal off (although that should not stop a diesel) but the big worry was the coolant leaking out of the radiator! 

Fortunately I had some radiator "stop leak". I poured that it, added some water and that seemed to do the job.

Continued in Part 2

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